Warren chides Dems in speech to labor

Warren chides Dems in speech to labor
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBill from Warren, Gillibrand and Waters would make Fed fight economic racial inequalities The other reason Democrats want Biden to shun debates The Memo: Biden faces balancing act MORE (D-Mass.) criticized members of her own party Wednesday for backing economic policies she says only benefit the rich, during an impassioned speech to the country's largest labor federation.

Though she did not name them, Warren’s remarks to an AFL-CIO conference in Washington, D.C., could be interpreted as thinly veiled criticism of the Clintons, whom liberals have criticized for being too cozy with Wall Street.

"Pretty much the whole Republican Party — and, if we're going to be honest, too many Democrats — talked about the evils of 'big government' and called for deregulation," Warren said in her prepared remarks. "It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do.”

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She offered praise for former President George H.W. Bush, but criticized former President Reagan.

"George Bush Sr. called it voodoo economics," she said. "He was right, and let's call it out for what it is: Trickle-down was nothing more than the politics of helping the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, and it cut the legs out from under America's middle class."

"The trickle-down experiment that began in the Reagan years failed America's middle class," she said.

Warren made no specific mention of either former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonA political hero is born in Ohio: America needs more Tyler Ferhmans Presidents, crises and revelations Biden needs to bring religious Americans into the Democratic fold MORE or presumed 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Top federal official says more details coming on foreign election interference The Hill's Campaign Report: COVID-19 puts conventions in flux  MORE during her well-received speech to the labor group.

Nor did Warren discuss her potential presidential ambitions. She has insisted that she's not running for president, despite a growing number of grassroots organizations urging her to get into the race.

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a dominant lead in early 2016 polling, many progressives are hoping that a Warren candidacy would move Clinton to the left on economic issues.

The speech itself was classic Warren: She touted the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she framed in biblical terms as "David versus Goliath." Warren fought for the creation of the agency, which was formed under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, before she was elected to office.

But she's since added a personal portion to her Washington stump speech, drawing on anecdotes from her childhood that she detailed in her book A Fighting Chance.

"This is personal for me," she said. "When I was 12, my big brothers were all off in the military. My mother was 50 years old, a stay-at-home mom. My daddy had a heart attack, and it turned our little family upside down. The bills piled up. We lost the family station wagon, and we nearly lost our home."

"I remember the day my mother, scared to death and crying the whole time, pulled her best dress out of the closet, put on her high heels and walked to the Sears to get a minimum wage job. Unlike today, a minimum wage job back then paid enough to support a family of three. That minimum wage job saved our home — and saved our family."